Monday, March 02, 2015

King Curtis - 7 Classic Albums

King Curtis was a saxman whose styles ranged from rhythm'n'blues, soul, funk, blues, rock'n'roll and
jazz and this collection puts together seven full albums showing off the range of his work, all stemming from the years 1959 through 1961.

Opening with his 1959 record, Have Tenor Sax, Will Blow, we get plenty of early r'n'r/r'n'b styles, from the Bo Diddley-inspired "Midnight Ramble" to the strollin' "The Shake", some cool guitar/sax interplay on "Jay Walk", "Lil' Brother" and "Peter Gunn", real wailin' on "Snake Eyes", and several others before closing with a live "Birth of the Blues", which has touchstones in various popular numbers, making you think you've heard it before whether you have or not, and then "Chili", a slightly ethnic number.

The album Azure follows, which a bit more of a, mellower, exotica feel, though, weirdly, the CD itself shows completely different titles than the track listing on the back cover, so I'm not sure what tunes I'm actually listening to! Strings appear here and there, as do (mostly) wordless vocalizations, adding to the exotica vibe. (I see that the cover listing is correct as he gets into covers like "Misty" and "When I Fall in Love".)

Disc two includes his Soul Meeting album, which blends jazz with a soulful twist on numbers like "Soul Meeting", "Lazy Soul", "Do You Have Soul Now" (to make sure that you get the record title connection, I guess!) along with traditionals like "What Is This Thing Called Love" and the appropriately titled blues tune, "Jeep's Blues".

The record Trouble in Mind starts with the bluesy title cut, and continues in this vein throughout. Besides Curtis' stellar sax-blowin', there's some exceptional guitar work on this one, as well, by Al Casey and Mac Pierce. Curtis sings throughout this one and more than does justice to numbers like "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out, "Bad, Bad Whiskey", "I Have to Worry", and "Woke Up in the Morning".

Going back to a funkier, r'n'r side, we get "Night Train" and the Old Gold album on disc three. "Honky Tonk" sounds damn close to Bill Doggett's original - even the guitar solo - and Curtis' honkin' sax rules here. "Fever" gets a cool reading, "Tuxedo Junction" swings'n'wails, sweet Hammond B3 highlights "Lean Baby" and a good portion of this record, you can just picture the teens doing "The Hucklebuck", Curtis gets to let loose and really blow on "Soft". There's a few other goodies before a groovin', sultry "Harlem Nocture" finishes that record.

Music For Dancing The Twist is another bandwagon-jumping LP, though Curtis gives it some hep style. "Jersey Bounce" is indeed, bouncey, Curtis sings "Twistin' Time" (you can kinda guess already how it sounds just from the title), "Honeysuckle Rose" has more yakety sax, he's back on vocals for his take on "Peppermint Twist" and "The Arthur Murray Twist". By the sound of the music, I don't know if they're "Stompin' at the Savoy", but definitely jumpin'n'jivin', in a somewhat cheesy way, and then several more standards necessary for any "twist" album - the one that started it all, "The Twist", "12th Street Twist", and "Let's Twist Again". I guess they wanted to change it up before concluding, since the last two are "Alright, Okay You Win" and the twist-influenced dance number "The Fly".

For the final disc, we get his Soul Battle album (with Oliver Nelson and Jimmy Forrest), where he goes back to a jazz feel, and can stretch out and do some creative and innovative playing. "Anacruses" is a particular stand-out with its hep, staccato lines, as is the sax battle in "Perdido". While there is good stuff throughout this comp, this disc might be my favorite of the bunch.

Really good collection of practically a day's worth of music for a very reasonable, discounted price. This shows the versatility of this man and his playing.

Friday, February 27, 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83
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Although he did have a (somewhat embarrassing) musical career, it is really his role in Star Trek that affected generations of musicians, science fiction lovers and those who tried to make the world a better place. Sad to see him go all too early.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

recommended gigs

Thursday Feb 26 - the All Togethers at Eye Candy Lounge at Mandalay Bay
Thursday Feb 26 - Whiskey Breath at Triple B

Friday Feb 27 - the New Waves at Hop Nuts Brewery

Saturday Feb 28 - HR (of the Bad Brains) with Fuzz Solow, Roaches in the Kitchen and more at the Dive Bar
Saturday Feb 28 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon with the Bourbon Brothers

Wednesday Mar 4 - the Sloths at the Bunkhouse with the Astaires

Friday March 6 - The Swamp Gospel with The All Togethers at the Huntridge Tavern
Friday March 6 - the Delta Bombers at Triple B with Big Sandy

Saturday Mar 7 - Cheap Trick at Fremont Street Experience
Saturday Mar 7 - Water Landing, Alex and His Meal Ticket, Ossum Possum - Triple B

Sunday Mar 8 - Thee Swank Bastards at Pussyrama at the Bunkhouse

Wednesday Mar 11 - Prophet Greene with Fuzz Solow and Charlie Overbey and the Broken Arrows at the Dive Bar

Friday Mar 13 - the All Togethers CD release party at Forge in Boulder City
Friday Mar 13 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Sunday Mar 15 - Anvil at Adrenaline Sports Bar

Tuesday Mar 17 - the All Togethers at the Backstop Sports Pub

Wednesday Mar 25  - The Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Sunday March 29 - Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band with the All Togethers and Ditch Diggers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 2 - the Delta Bombers at Viva Las Vegas

Friday April 3 - Scoundrels at the Double Down

Saturday April 4 - the Coffin Cats with the New Waves and Dead at Midnight - the Dive Bar

Sunday April 5 - the Sonics at Viva Las Vegas - Mardi Gras Ballroom

Friday April 10 - the Mapes, the Maxies and Alan Six - Atomic Liquors

Saturday April 11 - Haunted Garage, the Time Crashers, Tartar Control, Radioactive Chicken Heads, Alexander the Terrible, Child Endangerment, Caliban and the Witch, Plague Doctor, the Rifleman and Firewater Folklore at OMD

Saturday April 25 - the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with Thee Fourgiven and the Psyatics
Saturday April 25 - the All Togethers at the Mormon Fort - 6:00pm

Sunday May 31 - the Astaires with Sharks From Mars at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

a very old review of Sonics' Rendezvous Band in Chicago in 1977


And here's my never-before-published review of Sonics' Rendezvous Band in Chicago in 1977! I believe that I thought that my ex-girlfriend (who went with me - and who previously took photos for the Gizmos) was going to publish this in some magazine that she was involved in, which I think I mention (again, I haven't actually re-read this, so forgive my writing), but she never did. I'm glad that I have something to remember it by. Certainly an unforgettable night! Wish I had known more of their songs at the time and wish I had a camera (image from the internet above)!


The night I met Fred "Sonic" Smith

I've often wondered what happened to this - my typewritten memory of meeting Sonic Smith at a Sonics' Rendezvous Band in the Chicago area in 1977. Click on the images to enlarge. I haven't actually re-read these, but be kind - I was young and even less of a writer than I am now! Only wish that I had photos!


Monday, February 23, 2015

cool story - will have to check this out

'That Blew My Mind': Raiding The Lead Belly Vault 
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

recommended gigs

Thursday Feb 19 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Friday Feb 20 - the All Togethers at Willow Creek Assisted Living
Friday Feb 20 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger

Saturday Feb 21 - Green Jelly with 3d6, the Mentors, Lambs to Lions and more at the Dive Bar

Wednesday Feb 25 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 26 - the All Togethers at Eye Candy Lounge at Mandalay Bay
Thursday Feb 26 - Whiskey Breath at Triple B

Friday Feb 27 - the New Waves at Hop Nuts Brewery

Saturday Feb 28 - HR (of the Bad Brains) with Fuzz Solow, Roaches in the Kitchen and more at the Dive Bar
Saturday Feb 28 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon with the Bourbon Brothers

Wednesday Mar 4 - the Sloths at the Bunkhouse with the Astaires

Friday March 6 - The Swamp Gospel with The All Togethers at the Huntridge Tavern
Friday March 6 - the Delta Bombers at Triple B with Big Sandy

Saturday Mar 7 - Cheap Trick at Fremont Street Experience

Sunday Mar 8 - Thee Swank Bastards at Pussyrama at the Bunkhouse

Wednesday Mar 11 - Prophet Greene with Fuzz Solow and Charlie Overbey and the Broken Arrows at the Dive Bar

Friday Mar 13 - the All Togethers CD release party at Forge in Boulder City
Friday Mar 13 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Sunday Mar 15 - Anvil at Adrenaline Sports Bar

Tuesday Mar 17 - the All Togethers at the Backstop Sports Pub

Wednesday Mar 25  - The Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Sunday March 29 - Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band with the All Togethers and Ditch Diggers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 2 - the Delta Bombers at Viva Las Vegas

Friday April 3 - Scoundrels at the Double Down

Saturday April 4 - the Coffin Cats with the New Waves and Dead at Midnight - the Dive Bar

Sunday April 5 - the Sonics at Viva Las Vegas - Mardi Gras Ballroom

Friday April 10 - the Mapes, the Maxies and Alan Six - Atomic Liquors

Saturday April 11 - Haunted Garage, the Time Crashers, Tartar Control, Radioactive Chicken Heads, Alexander the Terrible, Child Endangerment, Caliban and the Witch, Plague Doctor, the Rifleman and Firewater Folklore at OMD

Saturday April 25 - the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with Thee Fourgiven and the Psyatics
Saturday April 25 - the All Togethers at the Mormon Fort - 6:00pm

Sunday May 31 - the Astaires with Sharks From Mars at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Rachel Sweet - Fool Around

I grabbed the white vinyl Stiff Records version of this when it came out in 1978 and always dug the girl-group vibe and catchy pop tunes (written and produced by Liam Sternberg). Surprisingly, this record, while a critics' fave, never really caught on, even after her tour with the band, the Records, backing her up. Still, this is a classic poppy/new-wave record.

It opens with a cool, laid-back groove in "Just My Style", which shows off Sweet's younger-girl, Lolita-esque, vocals - she can really sing and has a sultry edge, which is almost disturbing, as she was still a teenager at the time! Carla Thomas' "B-A-B-Y" follows and is a terrific update on the tune, mixing a modern feel with a fine Stax-like horn section. "Who Does Lisa Like" is a nice, guitar-oriented new-waver with some round-like vocal trade-offs with fellow Stiffs Records artist Lene Lovich followed by a string-laden ballad, "Wildwood Saloon" - still strong, even though a slower number - really cinematic string arrangement and melodic guitar solo. Another keen cover is "Stay Awhile", showing off Rachel's girl-group style (aided again by Lovich) and then a slightly off-kilter new-waver, "Suspended Animation", with its especially lascivious double-entendre lyrics.

An additional oddity is "It's So Different Here", with combinations of Caribbean melodies and new wave/pop sounds, before we get into the weirdest one of them all, "What's in the Cuckoo Clock" - a high-energy bit of wackiness that is pretty much impossible to describe (maybe marginally like Ian Dury), but still works. The guitars are brought up a bit more for the country/rock/pop of "Pin a Medal on Mary" and goofiness reigns supreme in "Girl With a Synthesizer". I always favored her version of Elvis Costello's country tear-jerker, "A Stranger in the House", where pedal steel guitars meets honking saxes for an album closer.

The American version of the album had a couple of different cuts - one more 60's number, this time Peter and Gordon's "I Go To Pieces", along with a cover that I'm not familiar with, "Sad Song", with vaguely country touches.

Crossing 60's girl-group sounds and 70's new-wave, this is an excellent release of cool pop!

Monday, February 16, 2015

RIP Lesley Gore


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Lesley was a talented singer/songwriter even as a teen and had a string of hits and even an appearance on Batman, which caused me to have a majot crush on her. Here's the Clip.